Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hello PVP & Its Readers

Thanks to Scott K. for linking here, I appreciate your thoughts. This is intended as useful criticism so I will try to keep my balance and flail as little as possible. At the same time it's an exercise in writing, and flailing is occasionally fun, so I hope you will forgive me.

I enjoyed your readers' comments -- I assume you knew what would be unleashed when you linked; I certainly expected nothing less. Now that the tempest seems to have left my little tea cup, I'd like to thank those who left thoughtful comments, both pro and con. The rest of them can go back to drinking their parents' milk now. (My favorite comment. Almost shot milk out of my nose when I read it. My parents' milk.)


Anonymous said...

Ah, so you both resent and welcome complaints from upset fans. There is appeal in being one against many.

Why did you choose PvP to hone your criticism skills? Comics are not known for being in-depth studies of human nature.

Anonymous said...

What I think odd is that you did this without ads. You'd be rolling in dough right now.


Kethry said...

I think you're doing an excellent job with this blog; raising some valid points while never attacking the artist personally.
I agree with you, PVP has seemed to get into a rut lately. I was especially sad to read a post in which the artist said he felt the strip had "grown beyond" gaming jokes, as those were the best part.
You point about inferring emotion in emails was valid, but didn't extend far enough: You get out of it, what you put into it. Half the fun of ambiguous strips is to give your own voice to the comments (I thought Brent was being sarcastic, and won't be truly offended) and then seeing if you were correct. But maybe that's just me. :-)
I think you're doing an excellent job, and am particularly impressed that you've resisted the everpresent urge to make personal attacks against either the artist, or the people who have come to leave comments. (I've noticed that, despite their outrage, they are the only ones being insulting).
Keep up the good work!

Cheese Doodles make me sad. said...

I'm not sure what to make of this blog - it's wierd to obsess over one webcomic. But hey, I;m a nerd - I GET obsession.

Well, I'm hooked. Now I can't turn away.

I like PVP. And yet I like the blog that dislikes PVP.
My head is exploding.....

I would be interested to see what you had to say about other webcomics - which ones work well in yoru opinion and such....

cheese doodles AGAIN said...

One request? Piece of advice? I dunno what it is really.

But how about you give us a mission statement, for want of a better term. I mean, it's kinda here I guess, you want PVP to improve. But again, the WHY of a blog just about one webcomic intrigues me (vs. a blog about MANY comics) so I guess I just wonder what your aim is Mr. Fake Dude.

Anonymous said...

Keep doing what you're doing. I've had the same feelings regarding PvP lately as well and this blog puts a lot of those thoughts out there so very well. It's also impressive the way that you're doing it, never flaming, but pointing out flaws in the comics - areas that could be improved and even offering ways that, in your opinion, could make it better. Keep it up. Maybe some day PvP won't make you sad any more.

Kamanth said...

Yeesh, it's just a comic, that's provided for free.

You don't pay for it, nothing is asked from you, so why take it so seriously and criticise someone that's providing a free service to the masses?

It's free cheap laughs, enjoy it for what it is, no one is making you read it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kethry and the others who praise the work you are doing here. Please keep it up!

It's really nice to see someone applying close and informed scrutiny to PvP, taking time to explain their reactions and interpretations clearly, and basically not being afraid to point out that sometimes the Emperor has no new clothes.

This site seems like a perfectly natural response (and welcome balance) to the gated discursive community that the PvP forum has become. There, any hint of criticism gets you mocked and criticized in turn, with far greater hostility and close-mindedness. It's really become an unpleasant place to discuss the strip.

Anonymous said...

or in other words, kamanth, shut up and eat what you're given, even if its gruel.

scott takes his art seriously, we take it seriously. if you have that little respect for pvp (and yourself for wasting time reading it), why bother coming here and posting your feeble, self-hating defense?

Anonymous said...

I really like PVP myself. The only thing that annoys me is the fact that Kurtz cant seem to keep any sort semblance of a regular schedule.

You never know when your going to get a new comic and dont even talk to me about the Series, thats even worse. We dont even get an update on when that is coming each month.

Bliinky McBlinkerson said...

So, what was the comment that made you spit take?

Bryant said...

People act as if there were no increments between loving a comic and reading it daily, and hating it with a vow to never touch it again.

There seems to be a lack of understanding about the goal of this blog and criticism in general. Fake Scott McCloud (excellent nome de plume, by the way) is not saying he hates PVP, only that it makes him sad. He is saying specifically why it makes him sad, and what might be done to help him be less sad in the future.

The fact that the webcomic is free is brought up repeatedly, as well. It's a fair point, but it is also fair to counterbalance that with the fact that Kurtz isn't doing this for free. He makes money through his artistic endeavors, PVP among them. As an artist and a businessman, he should relish the opportunity to receive constructive criticism, especially when there is some actual thought behind it, and not just mindless braying.

I found PVP a few years ago and, as is my habit, read through the archives. I quickly got caught up in the storylines and characters. I kept reading it out of habit - but in truth, I have not found it nearly as funny or engaging for a year or more now. I think that Kurtz is either running on autopilot with his characters now, or he simply has too many other projects demanding his creative energies to give PVP enough attention.

While PVP certainly isn't the worst of the lot out there - there are some truly banal webcomics that are easy to stumble upon - it also not one of the best. It's probably not even the most popular out there. Personally, I hope that fresh, honest criticism such as this will help Mr. Kurtz reexamine his work and find ways to improve his craft.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with the first commenter. Comics are Exactly that. The oldest form being political cartooning.

Comics and other comedic endeavors are meant to show us something that we all see, but from someone else's perspective. Whether that perspective be satirical or allegorical.

DoomDragon6 said...

I completely support this blog. =D

The Wax Lion said...

Yes, it is possible to not love PvP, and not hate it with firey passion either. I stopped reading it because I thought it wasn't funny anymore (somewhere around the 10th time that the punchline was that Cole and Brent suddenly appear in the General Lee in Panel 4.) But that doesn't mean I think Scott is an untalented lout, or that the comic is a horrible scourge upon the internet. I enjoy popping in and reading a week here and there still; if this blog goads Scott into getting a little more innovative and edgy (both in the art and writing) with PvP, I'd probably start reading it again.

Anonymous said...

Have to say I was surprised to find actual constructive criticism here. Not nearly enough of it on the web, imo.

Jw said...

I do think the strength of critique is in a wider spectrum. It seems obsessive (because it is) to brood over a single webcomic, when there are so many that desperately need some thoughtful critique. It would be like Roger Ebert only reviewing movies by Gus Van Sant or something... you'd have no idea where he was coming from.

My suggestion is, while PvP makes you sad, it might be nice for you to do both positive and negative critiques of many other comics. This would strengthen your writing exercise.

Anonymous said...


I agree with all you said regarding PVP and it's creator Scott Kurtz.

His work is good, sometime better BUT always over rated. PVP was "one" of the 1st web strips up and this has caused it to be noticed as some kind of "breakthrough" or "original" strip.

In reality it's not. Scott's work has always been nothing more than elementary.

I am not sure if he purposely tries to "copy" other artists work and strips but his work is mostly all unoriginal.

I know the guy personally and I can tell you this. He is immature, insecure and self obsessed. He thinks way too much of himself and really acts as if he is the GOD of the Web Comic Universe...but he tries to hide it. He loves attention for his strip and self accomplishments. He acts like he's some "nice" guy with all the power to speak for artists and the art of comics because he was "first". But he really is nothing more than a jerk. Maybe it's because of his body and weight, I don't know but I do know he puts other web comic artists down, he talks bad of other people behind their backs and he like to surround him self with a close group of people that he knows in his own head without a doubt "lobe and praise him". It's like he's in high school all over again but this time he is going to be master of his own "web comic community click" to make up for the less than stellar school life he might have had being unpopular.

Scott Kurtz in the end is not a great guy.

IF he knew I said this than he would more than likely unleash his wrath on me. But as the Godfather once said, "...keep your friends close but your enemies closer."

In conclusion, there are so many more "better" web strips out there other than PVP. It's shame that he has been allowed so much attention for such a lack luster strip.


Anonymous said...

PvP remains popular because people fell in love with it when it was actually good. Now their loyalty keeps them coming everyday (I know I do). But you're right, it's now only slightly better than the crap comics they put in the newspapers everyday.

Anonymous said...

Wow, though, Truth's comments seem pretty harsh. I'm a critic of the strip because I really like and respect it. I draw the line at indicting the personality and character of Scott (a man I've never met) or dismissing the strip's worth altogether.

There is such a thing as tossing out the baby with the bathwater.

Anonymous said...

Creation is often a superior practice to detraction, in my view.

Certainly, mediocre and untrained detraction is inferior to all but the worst creation.

My opinion of PvP varies but I am not so arrogant as to assume that this is an objective difference in quality.

Instead, I recognise it as variance between Scott Kurtz' sense of humor and my own.

To me, your criticism come without credentials and is not hugely cogent.

I also find myself questioning the values of a person who goes to such great effort to piss on someone else's accomplishments.

My advice is to stop blogging to attack someone else's success and start working to create your own.

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